lehrer architects la, los angeles West Hollywood, Calif., has a legacy of courtyard housing, so the city encourages developers to build within the tradition. This project, however, is the first one to implement the standard on such a narrow lot--and to do it successfully. "Nicely executed," said our judges.

Architect Michael B. Lehrer says the project's master stroke is the west-facing aluminum and glass tower. It enlivens the modern facade of the six-unit building while also controlling natural light and ventilation. "On the ground floor of a typical unit, it would be dark," he says. "But here all the light is captured and you experience it on all floors." The tower acts as a thermal chimney, pulling hot air from the four floors and forcing it out through operable doors.

The exterior of each unit is delineated by bold colors, an inexpensive way to achieve richness and identity. And on the interior, Lehrer carried through the Modern aesthetic with such spare detailing as 1/4-inch reveals at wall bases, bamboo cabinetry and flooring, and synthetic concrete countertops.

principal in charge: Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA, Lehrer Architects LA
project architect: Christian Arndt, Lehrer Architects LA
developer: Jonathan Lehrer-Graiwer & Leo Moore, Los Angeles
general contractor: Leo Moore, Leo Moore & Associates, Los Angeles
landscape architect: Mia Lehrer, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles
project size: 1,700 to 2,200 square feet per unit
site size: 0.17 acre
construction cost: $185 per square foot
sales price: $650,000 to $740,000 per unit
units in project: 6
photographer: Tom Bonner